This is worse than a yo-yo at this point. Oh, and Billy Hunter is still an imbecile. Hunter decided to not present an offer to his players for a vote. Sound familiar?
The NBA labor impasse has become a high-stakes game of chicken, and neither side is ready to give in.
With the cancellation of the entire season between two and three weeks away, NBA owners called off a bargaining session scheduled for Saturday when the players union refused to alter its previous positions.
Billy Hunter, union executive director, responded by blasting the NBA owners, concluding their threat to cancel the entire season is merely a bluff.
``I do not believe they [owners) have been negotiating in good faith,'' Hunter said.
``We find it incredible that they would, in the 12th hour, say they are not prepared to meet. They are trying to play mind games with the players. It's not going to work.''
Saturday's much-anticipated meeting was canceled at 2 p.m. Wednesday when Hunter informed league officials that the players would not agree to the three conditions the owners wanted.
The owners want to alter free agency and the ability of teams to exceed the salary cap. They want player salaries limited to a set percentage (52 percent) of basketball revenues, and they want a bigger escrow tax on salaries than the players are willing to give.
``We are not going to negotiate with a gun to our heads,'' Hunter said. ``We're prepared to bargain. We are ready and willing to meet around the clock to do this. But the owners seem to have another agenda.''
The league already has canceled all games up to Christmas Day. Although no official date for canceling the entire season has been announced, various sources have estimated that date at Dec. 14.
Both sides agree it would take between three and four weeks to start the season after an agreement is signed.
``Whether [NBA Commissioner) David Stern would do it [cancel the season) remains to be seen. The odds are against it,'' Hunter said. ``Obviously, he has threatened.''
The two sides last met formally last Friday in New York, with both sides then expressing optimism that a deal could be finalized. When Hunter and National Basketball Players Association President Patrick Ewing met briefly Monday with Stern and NBA Deputy Commissioner Russ Granik, however, the optimism disappeared.
NBA officials declined to comment Wednesday on the cancellation of Saturday's meeting. On Tuesday, Granik said: ``There is no reason to meet.''
When asked whether he thought the majority of players would accept the current deal the league has offered, Hunter declined to speculate.
``I wouldn't present it to them the way it is now,'' Hunter said defiantly. ``So there won't be a vote.''